I hope you all have fun plans for the Fourth! Here in Hong Kong, today is any other working day…
I had a bunch of morning work calls, have a Dr.’s appt. this afternoon, and then we’re going to a pre-natal class so I’m not feeling particularly festive! Definitely missing / craving a BBQ, some American brownies or rice crispies, and some fireworks!
Last year we did celebrate at our friend K.C.’s rooftop party… I love how she did red, white and blue punch!
She also served drinks in red, white and blue bins… red for Coke and white and blue for water. Isn’t she clever?
We did however have Monday off here in Hong Kong for Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Establishment Day… it’s funny how both of our independence days fall so close together. Traffic over the weekend was disastrous downtown as President Hu was in town, both for the anniversary of the handover (15 years) and also to swear in our new and extremely controversial Chief Executive Leung Chun-Ying.
There were giant protests (estimated between 63,000 to 400,000) in Victoria Park… people were protesting Leung in particular for his recently discovered illegal basement in his home on the Peak–lots of Pinnochio signs were present. This new finding is especially ironic as it’s what brought down Tang, Leung’s no. 1 opponent in the race to become Chief Executive–I blogged about that here in “Blame your illegal man cave on your wife“. People also used Hello Kitty in their protests, including a giant pink Hello Kitty protest car (below, upper left)!!! Earlier this month, Leung said he found Hello Kitty stickers on a wall in one of the rooms of his house on The Peak, to prove he was not the property’s first occupant and therefore wasn’t the one who built the illegal structures, and people have been mocking him on the Internet ever since!
People also believe that Leung is an underground Communist party member. He has won favor with some by pledging to increase public housing and pledging to work to address the growing income inequality gap here.
People were also out protesting Hong Kong’s close ties to China. Hong Kong was ranked 80 out of 167 in The Economist’s democracy index for 2011 and classified as a “hybrid regime”. “It is neither one thing nor the other – not yet a democracy, but with some democratic trappings,” wrote the magazine.
Part of the reason people are so upset about Leung taking office is that they didn’t vote for him; Hong Kong’s Chief Executive was voted in for a five-year term by a 1,193 member panel of Hong Kong billionaires, academics and professionals. Of course, Hong Kong does have a well-established rule of law and Beijing has promised to let the Special Administrative Region operate independently… it will be very interesting to see what the next five years bring!
Side note: Missing so many of our friends who are now back in the States, either permanently or for summer holiday!